Getting your network ready for BYOD.
The Bring your own device scheme is becoming ever more popular in organizations of all sizes. Employees can bring their own smartphones, tablets and laptops to work to assist them in completing daily tasks, this allows them access to their work at any time and at any location.
A big benefit of introducing BYOD is user satisfaction, they have purchased the laptops, tablets and smartphones they have for a reason, those are the devices they prefer and they know how to use them. Reports show that staff members do not mind paying for the technology they use at work, as they prefer this than using devices provided by work. This is great news for employers who no longer need to invest as much on IT devices, the company also benefits from the latest features as users tend to upgrade their hardware more frequently.
BYOD may sound simple but it presents a host of challenges for any organization and planning for this change is vital. IT decision-makers must address numerous issues and introduce policies and procedures, including one that explains how data will be retrieved from personal devices if an employee leaves the company. There must also be a discussion regarding who is responsible for repairing or replacing a device if it becomes damaged or broken whilst in work. Also, some companies have certain legislation and security requirements they have to adhere to, it is important to check that the BYOD initiative doesn’t cause compliance risks.
Before introducing the BYOD strategy companies will need to decide if they are only supporting specific models of tablets and mobiles, such as perhaps only Apple or Android products, this can be a good idea as otherwise there may need to be IT support available over a wide range of devices. Also, not all models are compatible with each other and certain apps are only available for certain models.
Gartner suggests that Organizations should start with a “contain” strategy, personally owned devices are initially granted limited access, perhaps just being able to access the Internet, email, calendars and contacts. Once the process has matured and the organization has gained an acceptable level of control over personally owned devices they can migrate to the “Embrace” strategy, based on the users role, employees are given access to more advanced capabilities, such as selected corporate applications. It is vital for organizations to define which internal applications and data can be accessed from personally owned devices and which will be blocked.
By embracing the BYOD system organizations can often lose some control over their IT hardware as it can become difficult implementing rules on the way employees use their own devices in work. However, if a company can make the initiative work it will introduce many positives to the workplace. Before implementing this change it may be a good idea to discuss with employees the advantages and disadvantages, and find out their opinion on having to pay for their own devices to be used for work tasks.